Best Places to Live

Raleigh, NC

Population: 432,520
LIV
SCORE
701
iStock/Mlenny

North Carolina’s capital city truly has something for everyone, which is why it scored high in the amenities category. Whether you’re a sports fan, a foodie, an outdoor adventurer, an entrepreneur, a college student or some combination of all of the above, there’s a long list of things to do in Raleigh to entertain and delight you.

Raleigh is an imaginative city that celebrates clean energy entrepreneurs and researchers, inventive chefs and artists. Also worth bragging about: Raleigh is home to three major state museums — of art, history and natural sciences — and they’re free.

Local Obsession: North Carolina State University. The basketball teams have some fierce rivalries with Duke and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Climate Described in 6 Words Or Less: Hot, humid summers and short winters

Top Industries and Employers: Raleigh is a hot spot for clean tech companies, which employ thousands of people. Advanced manufacturing, IT, and life sciences are other strong industries. In the entire Wake County and Research Triangle Park, the major employers are Duke University and Health System, the State of North Carolina and Wake County Public School System. IBM also has a large presence in the area.

Local Dream Job: An ice cream maker with Howling Cow. For more than 70 years, Howling Cow ice cream has been manufactured on North Carolina State University’s campus using fresh milk from the university’s own cows. A licensing agreement helps fund scholarships.

Quintessential Meal: Southern cuisine. Servers at Rye Bar & Southern Kitchen greet tables with bread boards that are loaded with housemade pickles and honey butter, too.

Favorite Weekend Activity: Pushing the adrenal glands into overdrive at the Daniel Dhers Action Sports Complex. Founded by a pro BMX rider, the complex has indoor and outdoor riding terrain as well as a beginner area, foam pits and lessons.

After-Work Meetup Spot: Break a sweat with some friends at the Triangle Rock Club, with climbing walls that span up to 55 feet.

Best Local Beer: Glean, a mango peppercorn saison at Brewery Bhavana

Beloved Bookstore: Quail Ridge Books, which has its own podcast called “Bookin’” featuring author interviews.

Free Way to Have Fun: Exploring the forest, trails and lakes in William B. Umstead State Park, a scenic retreat.

Hidden Gem: Psst, you can order a housemade soda or malted milkshake at the The Pharmacy Cafe.

- Brittany Anas

Read More:

Why Raleigh Is One of America’s Up-and-Coming Tech Hotspots

The Best Places to Live in North Carolina

Moving to North Carolina? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Parlez-Vous Raleigh? Why You Need to Check Out This City’s French Food Scene

“As far as Raleigh’s food culture goes, it’s nice — the restaurateurs aren’t looking to New York or Barcelona or Paris for inspiration. Instead, chefs are are turning to their own homes and memories and family stories for inspiration.”

- Van Nolintha, co-founder of Bida Manda and Brewery Bhavana

Raleigh, NC Ranking Data

Civic
63
Demographics
69
Economy
75
Education
63
Health
64
Housing
69
Infrastructure
77